House Committee Begins Decision Making on Same Sex Marriage
By Wendy Osher
***Rep. Karl Rhoads, Chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, addressed the public at 3 p.m. saying, “there’s been a delay,” and the Committees on Finance and the Judiciary plan to reconvene at 3:30 instead of 3 p.m. as initially planned. He said, “No promises, but we hope to be back in about a half-an-hour.” A subsequent announcement indicates that the committees will reconvene at 4:15 p.m.
The House Committees on the Judiciary and Finance recessed shortly before 2 p.m. today (Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013) for decision making on Senate Bill 1, which if passed by the legislature, would legalize same sex marriage in the state.
Under the bill, marriages between individuals of the same gender would be recognized in the state, and same-sex couples would be extended the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples of the opposite-sex are presently entitled to.
The group is set to reconvene at 3 p.m. this afternoon to announce their progress.
The decision making comes upon the conclusion of five days of testimony both for and against same sex marriage, in which thousands of people were signed up to testify.
The hearing began last week Thursday, following a Senate vote on Wednesday in which Senators advanced the measure in a 20-4 vote on third and final reading before transmitting the the measure to the House for consideration.
Upon conclusion of testimony, Rep. Karl Rhoads, Chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary thanked the public for coming to testify.
“I know that it can be a very frustrating experience to wait for days and days to get to talk for two minutes, and we realize that. The problem is, scheduling for 5,000 people is a very difficult task, so we’ve done our best to accommodate everyone,” said Rep. Rhoads.